31 January 2012
Today, Ann Keane, Chief Inspector of Estyn, publishes the Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education 2010-11, an overall assessment of standards and performance of schools, education and training providers in Wales.
Ann Keane, Chief Inspector said, “This is my first annual report since we introduced a new way of inspecting education and training providers. During this year, there has been a greater emphasis on how well schools and providers are delivering skills-based learning and self-evaluation.
My report confirms that that many schools and providers are performing well. The Foundation Phase is a strength in the majority of schools, with boys and girls responding positively to the stimulating activities. They are more independent, confident and creative.
Performance in four out of five primary schools and two out of three secondary schools inspected is mainly good.
We have also seen encouraging developments in wellbeing. Nearly all pupils say they feel safe at school and they have lots of opportunities to learn about how to be healthy and take part in regular exercise, although attendance rates are slow to improve.
But despite this progress, there are still several areas that are still a concern: children and young peoples’ reading and writing skills and the uneven quality of teaching and leadership.”
The report highlights that 25% of schools need follow-up visits by Estyn, including 5% that are causing serious concern. Another 20% of schools require follow-up visits by their local authorities. These schools have gained largely ‘good’ inspection judgements, but have one or more important areas for improvement. The local authority is required to report back on the progress.
One main area of weakness in the majority of schools is the variation in the quality of teaching and learning. Even where a school is judged ‘good’ overall, there are often individual lessons or departments where the quality of teaching is poor.
Ann Keane continues, “We have seen a drop in the proportion of ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’ teaching by comparison with the last cycle of inspections. Schools need to do more to adapt their materials and teaching styles to meet the needs of learners of all abilities. Most classes are ‘mixed ability’ so it’s very important to plan different approaches with different groups of pupils in these classes and to track the progress of individual pupils carefully.”
Literacy and numeracy skills still remain a concern as inspectors found underperformance at every key stage among a significant minority of pupils.
Ms Keane continues, “We have concerns about standards in reading and writing in a significant minority of primary schools. 40% of pupils enter secondary schools with a reading age that is more than six months below their actual age. This is unacceptable. Teachers and managers need to plan lessons more effectively to develop pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills in all subjects.”
Also, leaders, including governors, in schools and in local authorities need to play a more active role in tackling underperformance more systematically. We found that in around a quarter of schools, headteachers and governors do not monitor performance carefully enough or challenge how well teachers and pupils are performing.”
During 2010-11, Estyn inspected seven local authorities and found performance is good overall in only two local authorities. Five of the seven authorities inspected require follow-up visits. Three local authorities are only adequate, one is in need of significant improvement and one is in special measures.
Standards are mixed in post-16. Standards are good in six of the eight work-based learning settings inspected. However, standards range from excellent to unsatisfactory in the four institutions offering further education and from excellent to adequate in the three providers of adult community learning.
Interviews are available upon request with Ann Keane, HMCI and Meilyr Rowlands, Strategic Director.
Charlotte Bram / Gina Carrington
Tel: 02920 446526
Notes to Editors:
A full copy of the Annual Report 2010-2011 and a webcast from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is published on the Estyn website at www.estyn.gov.uk
Estyn is the Education and Training Inspectorate for Wales. Our aim is to achieve excellence for all in learning in Wales. We do this by providing an independent, high-quality inspection and advice service.
Our vision is to be recognised through the expertise of our staff as an authoritative voice on learning in Wales.
We are independent from, but funded by the Welsh Assembly Government (under Section 104 of the Government of Wales Act 1998).